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2 more Palestinians killed as tensions continue in occupied territories

Israeli forces storm a village in Negev desert and kill two Palestinians, January 17, 2017.

At least two more Palestinians have been killed and several others injured as tensions between Israeli military forces and illegal settlers on the one side and Palestinian protesters on the other continue in the occupied territories.

Israeli soldiers raided the Palestinian village of Umm al-Hayran in the Negev desert early on Wednesday to demolish a number of Palestinian houses there, prompting fierce scuffles with local residents, Arabic-language al-Aqsa television network reported.

The regime claimed the houses were being built without Israeli-issued permits.

Israeli troops fired tear gas canisters, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Two villagers were fatally shot, and four others sustained gunshot wounds.

Ayman Odeh, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament (Knesset) who currently serves as the head of the Arab-dominated political alliance Joint List, was shot in the head and injured during the melee.

Ayman Odeh, a Palestinian member of the Israeli parliament, sustains gunshot wounds during clashes, January 17, 2017.

Odeh was taken to Suruka Hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheva to receive medical treatment.

Palestinian sources later identified one of the fatalities as Yaqoub Moussa Abu al-Qayaan. They said Qayaan was shot dead as he sought to prevent Israeli military forces from entering the village.

Israeli forces later declared Umm al-Hayran a closed military zone, and imposed a curfew on it. Military equipment and reinforcements were sent to the area as well.

The development came only a few hours after they carried out an attack on the Qalandiya refugee camp north of Jerusalem al-Quds.

Reports say the Israeli soldiers used tear gas and live bullets as clashes broke out between residents and the troops inside the camp.

This photo provided by the Palestinian Arabic-language Safa news agency shows Israeli soldiers at the Palestinian village of Umm al-Hayran in the Negev desert area on January 18, 2017.

Witnesses said Israeli forces prevented local medical staff from taking the injured to a nearby hospital. The troops also demolished two Palestinian homes near the place.

Meanwhile, an Israeli settler ran over a four-year-old Palestinian girl in the southern West Bank city of al-Khalil (Hebron), located 30 kilometers south of Jerusalem al-Quds, on Tuesday evening.

Locals said Layan Ayed al-Razem was crossing the street in the Jabal Jales area of the city when she was hit.

Palestinian medical sources at al-Ahli Hospital in al-Khalil said the little girl was admitted with “bruises all over her body, mainly on her right leg.” They added that she is in a stable condition.

There have been scores of “hit and run” incidents targeting Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank, with most of them largely going uninvestigated by Israeli authorities.

On January 6, an Israeli settler ran over a 40-year-old in al-Khalil as he was walking on the edge of a road.

Another settler ran over and injured a Palestinian family of three near the West Bank city of Qalqilyah on October 25, 2016.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed tensions ever since Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

Nearly 280 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of October that year.

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